AMC Empire 25

234 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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AMC Empire 25

Originally located at 236 W. 42nd Street. The Empire Theatre was the eighth theatre on W. 42nd Street and was built for producer Al H. Woods who chose architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theatre. It was opened on September 11, 1912 with the melodrama “Within the Law” as the 880-seat Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre. Seating was provided in orchestra, two balconies and eight boxes. Named for Julian Eltinge, the top female impersonator of the American stage, who was Woods star performer. Julian Eltinge never played in the theatre named after him. The opening attraction at the theatre was a huge success, playing for 541 performances. Other hits include John Barrymore in “The Yellow Ticket”, “The Song of Songs”, “Fair and Warmer”, “Up in Mabel’s Room”, “The Girl in the Limousine” and “Ladies Night”. “Blackbirds of 1928” was another hit. Laurence Olivier in “Murder on the Second Floor” only managed to play for 45 performances in 1929. Alice Brady & Clark Gable in “Love, Honor and Betray” played in 1930 to be followed by its final legit production “First Night” presented in 1931 for 88 performances. It then reopened as the Eltinge Burlesque Theatre, featuring burlesque & ‘talkies’. It was later renamed Empire Theatre.

Converted into a movie theatre in summer of 1942, first as the 759-seat Laffmovie Theatre screening short comedy movies and cartoons. That lasted until 1953 when it was renamed the Empire Theatre again and returned to feature movies. The theatre finally closed, seemingly for good, in the mid-1980’s.

Following the renaissance of W. 42nd Street, AMC decided to make the entire former Empire Theatre the lobby of its new new flagship 25-screen megaplex. Located just west of Times Square, this immaculate multi-level multiplex is a prime example of theatre renovation and reuse.

The lobby of this luxurious, five-level theatre has been built inside the shell of the old Empire Theatre. On March 1, 1998 in order to build the massive multi-screen complex, the Empire Theatre was lifted up and moved down the street (all 3,700 tons of it) to its present location. Once that massive job was completed, a new 25-screen theatre was built around it and contained 4,916 seats. The multiplex was designed by the architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and opened April 21, 2000. An IMAX screen opened on September 26, 2008, the first digital IMAX in New York City.

The historic façade has been left largely intact, while a new marquee has been added. Just above the box office is a beautiful mural depicting Julian Eltinge, originally painted by a French artist, Arthur Brounet. The mural was restored by Harriet Irgang, the director of Rustin Levenson Art Conservation. Initially, the former balconies were reopened as the Times Square Café, but this has been closed for several years and the space is currently unused.

The megaplex shows first run mainstream and art films.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 759 comments)

moviebuff82 on June 11, 2020 at 5:38 pm

even with the reduced seating it’s still AMC’s #1 theater in the US and worldwide.

hdtv267 on June 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm

yes and what does that have to do with this particular complex where you need to post it here – for heavens sake, if you have this compulsion , at least give some of the other AMC theatres some love.

I mean there’s a 15 screener in Apple Valley, MN that doesn’t even have a picture posted of the place.. #ShareTheLove

moviebuff82 on June 25, 2020 at 1:25 am

The McDonald’s restaurant that has been around since 1984 when the Empire theater was around is being closed today for good as it focuses on the newer location a few blocks from the original restaurant. As for the Empire 25, it may not reopen by the 15th given that cases nationally are on the rise.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 25, 2020 at 1:37 am

That McDonald’s on 42nd St. had such a nice flashy marquee, flashing lights and hoopla, I’ll be sorry to see it shut down

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 25, 2020 at 4:50 am

That McDonalds, which occupies the main floor of the Candler Building, was not there since 1984. Back in the 80’s that space would have encompasses a few storefronts between the Cine 42nd and the Harris Theatre. The McDonalds I remember from the 80’s was next to the Embassy I, on Seventh Ave. The 42nd St McD’s didn’t open until sometime in the 90’s – maybe even the early 2000’s – after the New Amsterdam and New Victory were reborn.

moviebuff82 on June 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm

This theater may not reopen by the middle of july due to the governor not allowing theaters and gyms to open during the next phase of recovery. Not only that but a few movies have been delayed due to what’s going on. On a lighter note, does anyone remember the Mars cafe? It was a sci-fi restaurant that was a bit like Planet Hollywood.

ridethectrain on September 21, 2020 at 8:04 pm

Please update, seating is about 4024 seats (this does include the seat reduction in 1, 8 and 18

moviebuff82 on October 28, 2020 at 10:47 am

The seat reduction is due to the digital Imax as well as the prime and dolby screens.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 28, 2020 at 11:04 pm

My takeaway from this is, I wonder how you italicize something…

walterk on October 29, 2020 at 12:49 am

Mike (saps), if you want to to italicize something, check this out:

Steps 3-5 are all you need on CT to make it happen.

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